undaunted, part 2 {thoughts on living fearlessly}

dear friend, have you ever looked at the things wrong in your life and blamed them on your spouse or your kids? on the people you work with or work for or live near?  so often, i have found myself blaming my perceived and real failures on those i live with and love.  i have fought them as my enemy on what i believed to be my path toward success.  i did not know then that this journey was the next step in my soul’s dare for living fearlessly.

 

(this post is part 2 of a series called undaunted.  here is part 1, if you’d like to begin there.)

it’s not new: even in the garden, eve blamed adam for her sin, and he hurled the blame right back at her.  a professor-turned-dear-friend in college called the human syndrome “hide and hurl.”

i have a friend who reminds me often that if I fight for me, God may not.  in my park-bench, life-changing conversation with my husband one day, i mercifully began to lay down my stones and let my heavenly Father fight my battle.  i believed i was discovering that my husband, in his servant’s heart, had unwittingly strayed from his first calling in work and ministry, in order to help me.  i  believed it so strongly that in that conversation i told him if I never took another photo (our full time career at the time), it was a sacrifice i’d make to see him know confidence in his calling and find great joy in his work.  later that day i set a daily alarm that still sounds each morning, reminding me to pray for him in that way.

although we made a decision together to begin to seek God’s heart for a possible change in his work, answers didn’t come right away.  in fact, it was a looooong time before changes started to happen.

this is where my second life-lesson came in: God may intend to use suffering for our good and His glory.

our move to seek work for my husband outside our photography business was slow going.  at first, we thought we were being called to work alongside a family we knew at a Christian camp much nearer to where my parents lived.  during this time I wrote:

a (our daughter) is excited about a move (one minute), then sad about leaving heart friends.  her brother has been sharing advice with her about coming to peace with God’s leading for our family and for her best, about how she doesn’t need to worry about friendships, that God will work those out. that she will minister to the girls God puts in her life, as they will to her.” (7/7/13)

and a few days later:

“it seems so long we’ve been stuck wandering, this crew of mine, and i feel often the wandering-est. the most lost. i’ve asked friends i trust for wisdom and one suggested, perhaps we’re less in the desert, more in the wilderness.”

and after a deep heart-talk with a devoted and wise friend:

“the desert, she mused, is a place of discipline – the result of broken choices and the place for learning from mistakes. it’s a lonely, hungry, aching place. the wilderness, though, is the place where there is provision (think: the isrealites and the manna…), there is hope for the future, and there is learning; there is fruit from the wandering in the wilderness. if we do not give up hope.” (7/9/14)

 

suffering and glory

during this time I started turning down photography jobs in order to find balance and clear the way for what God was going to do. as finances at times became very tight, tension between us rose.  in an effort to heal our marriage and build healthy patterns, and to be prepared for change, we didn’t make any commitments at our church.  the firstborn, people-pleaser in me ached to let people know i was still a “good Christian.”  so often my fear of others’ opinions rose to choke me and drove me to be ever more hard working and impatient with my precious children and husband.  as things went outside my “plan,” i noticed my tendency to seek validation made me feel desperately lonely because I didn’t have a “visible” role in the body. I wrote:

” what you don’t think about is that the waiting hurts. in the waiting, you realize you’re broken. impatient. fear-driven.
in the waiting, you see your tendencies to self-preservation at the cost of mercy and grace-giving.” (12/10/13)

during this same time, the opportunity for the ministry job feel through – rather suddenly.  our house was on the market, and God seemed to provide work in our field, so I took on just what i felt I could handle, praying hard for the right doors to open and close as I went along.

(a huge life lesson here that learned painfully, is the importance of seeking wisdom from God’s word first, then our husbands, if we are married women, before asking a trusted and godly friend.  i caused myself confusion and got myself into messes when i committed based solely on opinions of others.)
I was challenged during this time to still invest genuinely in relationships even while feeling we would soon be uprooted, and to fight the tendency to withdraw, either because I thought we’d “desert” those connections, or because I was afraid of failing.  i’m so glad i didn’t, because it was in the brokenness that I saw God working to encourage others.

have you ever found that when your sisters found a weakness you shared, they were somehow emboldened to share their own, and so be encouraged?  have you struggled with the tension between the now and the not-yet?

 

i would love to hear and share your experience, as well.

 

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